Sunday, January 8, 2012

Personal Defense On The Trail

Whether it's pepper spray, pistol, rifle or a big stick, self defense is a right given by God to all men, no matter where they call home or which government tells them what rights they have or do not have. While I do not  advocate breaking the law, I do believe we as people have the right and responsibility to ourselves and families to defend our property and lives. 

OK, so that's my little rant on the subject and you probably know by now where I stand on the issue. Let's look at some basic options for concealed and open carry weapons while traveling in the back country.  Always check your local laws on carrying weapons in the back country.  Some wilderness areas do not allow you to carry a firearm while in parks or national forests.

Big stick
Use one if you must but I would not rely on it if my life depended on it. All kidding aside, if it's all you have it's all you have.  Get it in your mind to survive and to use what you have at hand. Try running scenarios through your mind and ask yourself what you would do in a given situation.

Pepper Spray

Pepper spray
Pepper spray can be purchased just about anywhere from your Walmart to your local sporting goods store, and many locations online.  As far as the carry aspect, it can be placed in a pack, carried on a lanyard or in a sheath on the belt.  The last is what I prefer for ease of access mainly.  Also I don't really want that stuff around my neck if I happen to fall and rupture the canister.  It's probably not very likely to happen.  I would just rather have it as far from my face and eyes as possible.  Pepper spray can be purchased in many different strength’s for different applications.  Also it can be carried in some areas where firearms may not be allowed. Bottom line is: this is a good non-lethal way to keep yourself safe and protected and allows you to put some distance between you and the threat.
Holster Shirt

This is my preferred means for self defense.  While pepper spray is an alternative, I prefer not to get that close to an attacker or threat.  Now, I’m not talking about sniping someone or something at 500 yards. I’m talking about a real threat up close and personal.  Whether it's firing a couple of warning shots into the air to scare off an animal or putting rounds on target to put something down for good, a firearm is the most effective means of eliminating a threat.

Training is a must.  Know how to use a firearm and when you should or shouldn't use one.  As far as carrying, I use the Glaco STO 440 IWB ( inside waistband) holster for the Springfield Sub-compact 9mm. Its very comfortable to wear and keeps it out of site and clean while riding while allowing for easy access.

Pistol Mount
Another option is the holster shirt which I purchased from Cabelas.  This shirt is just so cool. It provides great concealment, but at the expense of accessibility.  It's just a little hard to get to sometimes.  Another option (also purchased from Cabelas) is an ATV pistol mount which works great for easy access.  The pistol mount keeps it in place very well.  The only issue is: everyone can see it and your pistol will need a good cleaning after the ride. There are also many different gun racks for rifles and bows for hunting applications and riding.

Final thoughts
These are just a few of my thoughts.  Remember: the best defense is a good offense.  Be aware of your surroundings and listen to that little voice in your head.  When its says “HEY! I don't think we should be here,” listen.  It's there for a reason.

Enjoy the ride!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Planning your ride

Where to go 
One of the first things in planning a ride and the probably the most obvious is where to go. Consider your skill and the skills of the friends that are going with you. One of the worst things is getting on a trail and finding out one or more riders are just completely overwhelmed by a too difficult or technical trail. 

Check the weather and make sure you have the correct clothing for the trip and plan for changing weather. Check with local shops, as these folks are usually avid riders and have a lot of knowledge of trails. Look for weather cams in the general area you want to ride just to get an idea of what's happening now.

Maps and Road Closures
Try Google Earth to get a good overview of the area and some basic land marks and elevation changes.The Forest Service, Fish and Game and BLM can provide maps of the area you want to ride and closures for trails and roads.  Try to become familiar with their web sites and see what they have to offer.  Also keep their phone #’s of local offices in case of an emergency.  They will usually be closer to you and have a better knowledge of the area you’re in. This is in no way to replace the 911 call you should make in case of emergency, just a supplement. Great link for web cams. Northwest web cams

Check Your Ride 
Make sure your bike is ready to go.  This includes all fluids and tire pressure.  Don't forget the fuel. Also make sure your hauling vehicle is in good working order.  The same check list applies to your truck and trailer. Just a little bit of time checking before you leave can mean the difference between making it to the trail or making it back home.

A good tool kit can be a life saver. The tools that came with you machine can do most of what you may need, but a good socket set for changing tires and a repair kit for punctures are also a plus. Don't forget the compressor for pumping up those flats or leaking tires.The newer ATVs also have some fuses. Know where they are and have extras.  Check your owners manual for more information.

Tool Kit
Share Your Plan
Sharing your plan with friends, family, Facebook, twitter or even here in the comment section can save your life. Having someone else knowing where you are going and when you are expected back is one of those things that's a must. With bigger better faster and more comfortable machines we are going for longer rides and traveling farther than ever before and increasing the risk of an accident or brake down.  Let someone know where you are going and when you should be back so if you don't show up at least they know where to start looking.

Plan To Get Back 
Imagine going for a ride on a cold snowy winter day. Think of the clothing you would ware to stay warm: bulky coats and boots right? Now every thing goes wrong and you are walking out. Really? Don't think so Skippy. Walking out for miles in heavy winter riding boots or even some of the motor-cross type boots can prove to be a real challenge. Not that it cant be done, but make it a little easier.  If you can dress in layers for starters, not only will you stay warmer but if you get hot while walking you can always take something off. Hiking boots. Toss a good pare of hiking shoes in your bag.  It might be nice to slip on a pair for that long walk out.

Keep in mind this is just an overview. I know there are some things I have missed or failed to talk about here.  But maybe this will get you thinking before you take off on your next ride. Leave a comment or your question below, they are welcome.  Be safe and make 2012 the best year of riding ever.

Trail Riding with Girlie-Girl

For those of you women who pride yourselves as being as tough as any man and able to keep up with the guys in your life, relishing every moment of mud, grime, and the occasional blood spillage…this post is NOT for you!  

This post is for us, super girlie-girls, simply trying to survive a day of four-wheeling with that special man in our microcosm.  It is true that we want to support our husband/boyfriend/spouse in some kind of hobby, (especially one that gets him out of the house and out of our hair once in awhile).

That does not mean we desire to plunge through the rivers, valleys and mountains covered head to toe in trail dust, ditch water, and various other bits of mother nature clinging to our well-tailored jackets.  There must be a middle ground, right?  And there’s the rub.  

In light of my personal struggle to stay lady-like and also occasionally see my husband on the weekends, I have put together a little checklist of things to consider (BEFORE YOU LEAVE THE HOUSE) for all of you ATV trail enthusiasts desperate to get out the door and onto the trail with your special lady.

Things to keep in mind when wheeling with the girlie-girl in your life:
  • Ride Duration: the ride must be long enough to satisfy your trail urge, but short enough to not scuff her new boots up too much.
  • Terrain: select your intended trail and terrain carefully.  Too steep is NO good and scary.  Too flat is boring.  Too bumpy will get you the silent treatment all the way home.  
  • Attire/Gear: Her gear must be warm, comfortable and figure flattering.  If you are planning to make this couples ride a regular event, do yourself a favor and buy her some pretty pink riding gear (pants, coat, hat, gloves, helmet, boots...matching earrings.  You get the picture.)  These things can be obtained.  Do not deceive yourself into assuming pink riding gear does not exist.  It does.  I have girl friends working at Western Power Sports to prove it.  
  • Food/Water: You must pack several appropriate snacks, bottled water, and preferably a picnic lunch if you are planning to be gone more than two hours.  Just saying.
  • First Aide: Take a hint from the boy scouts.  Be prepared.  Carry wet wipes, Neosporin, and butterfly bandages at all times.  They are not for her.  They are for her sanity.
  • Whine Prevention Kit: This can be assembled easily and is somewhat affordable.  Your kit needs to include but is not limited to; a bottle of wine & cups (I recommend a white zin or St. Chapelle’s Soft White), chocolates, yummy gum (Orbit winter-mint is safe), Red Vine licorice, and a Michael Buble CD for the ride home.
Remember, with careful planning on your part, you and your special girlie-girl can enjoy a wonderful ride out on the trail!  Until next time, Happy Trails and (as my seven year old would say) Big Balls!

Guest Blogger: Tia Davis (aka: The Pink Lady)
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